Modern, fit-for-purpose facilities are better for patients, the NHS staff who work in them and the taxpayer, so the Government have already provided £3.9 billion of new capital investment to deliver new, upgraded facilities across the country.
I very much enjoyed the visit. The new £5 million Longton medical centre will provide general practice service for more than 12,000 patients, and it will be a fantastic community health scheme. My hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that yesterday I wrote to him outlining the capital options that might be available. He is right, and that is why this Government believe in transforming the primary care estate. It is a key enabler for delivering the long-term plan, and it provides better care for patients.
I met the hon. Lady about this disposal last December, and I have followed the matter carefully. The local health system has not wanted to continue using the site, but I am happy to assure her that I will look at bids from all comers. It is not my decision; it is a decision for local healthcare bodies and NHS Property Services.
The Minister will be aware that our general district hospital was closed to new admissions in recent weeks, and the reason given was delayed transfers of care. Ever since I was elected, many others have joined me in looking at how we can provide a step-down, step-up facility—a community healthcare hub—with beds in the St Ives constituency. I wonder what funding is available to achieve that aim.
My hon. Friend is right. He will have heard me say in response to my hon. Friend Jack Brereton that we are already making available £3.9 billion extra to provide these facilities. We should not be complacent, however, and it is important to recognise that we want world-class facilities for world-class care. One of the benefits of the long-term plan is that we can create a stable environment for capital investment, and we can make the case for more capital investment at the spending review.
Government cuts have already resulted in significant downgrading and loss of vital services at South Tyneside District Hospital. Since the Department refused to fund the next phase of downgrading, the trust has approached the local authority to borrow £35 million from the treasury to see it through. Does the Minister agree with me and my incensed constituents that it is wrong that we are now being asked to pay for further cuts to our hospital?
The hon. Lady will know that the Government are putting more cash and more money into the NHS than at any other time in its history. There will be £33.9 billion extra going in by 2023-24.